Fish Radio
December 20, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Hatcheries make a huge impact on Alaska’s salmon haul. More after this …                                                                    

Salmon hatchery at Prince William Sound Credit:  pwsac

Salmon hatchery at Prince William Sound
Credit: pwsac

 The At-sea Processors Association’s Alaska pollock fishing  companies fund marine research programs at Alaska’s universities to improve our understanding of the environment, and to promote conservation of our ocean resources.  Learn more about APA’s conservation efforts at

 See who’s catching all that Alaska seafood and their favorite recipes at a new micro site from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – find it at


 Each year about one third of Alaska’s salmon catch comes from fish hatcheries.

The numbers aren’t out yet, but this year more than 65 million hatchery produced fish were expected to return to awaiting nets and anglers.  Alaska calls its hatchery program ‘culturing’ or ‘ocean ranching’ – it’s very different from farming where fish are crammed into net pens  until they’re ready for market. All salmon in Alaska, even those born in  hatcheries, come from the wild and are released as fingerlings to the sea.

There are 20 hatcheries operating in Southeast, and another 14 in Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Kodiak, Anchorage, and a sportfish hatchery in Fairbanks.  There are no hatcheries in Western and Northern Alaska .

 Most of the hatcheries are run by regional aquaculture associations; the others are private non profits fund through cost-recovery harvests and some state grants.

 At Prince William Sound hatchery fish were 80 percent of the salmon landings last year, just over a quarter at Southeast and an eighth of Kodiak’s catch were hatchery  produced. In contrast, less than 1 percent of Cook Inlet’s salmon harvest was from so called “enhanced” stocks.

 Chum salmon  make up the bulk of the hatchery catch in Alaska and last year  brought  in over 60 percent of the total value. Pink salmon ranked second and   nearly 40 percent of  the  dockside value was from pinks returning to their home hatcheries.  

 Our numbers come from the state Labor Dept.    

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